You only have to read homeschool blogs, forums and books to find out that there are many different approaches, philosophies and methods to homeschool.    There is the Classical approach, the school at home or curricula approach,  Charlotte Mason Method, the Discipleship model, computer based education, unit studies or Unschooling… on and on it goes.  And we are supposed to (or so it would seem) choose which one we are – what type of homeschooler are we?  It gets confusing.

Which one are you?  And how do you know?

And to be honest, does it matter?

I am often asked which category I fit in and it is an awkward question because I talk about discipleship, and the passions and gifts (delights) of my kids, we use curriculum, I like Charlotte mason, people think I’m unschooling, we use technology, I have delayed academics at times … there is a bit of everything in there.

I have often simply called myself eclectic.  So how does one get to be eclectic?

Well, it does start with your philosophy and I guess every main direction in homeschooling has a philosophy, but we have to be clear on our own.  And from our own philosophy (our own beliefs) we can then choose the teaching methods, and the learning resources and opportunities that fit that belief system.

  • What do you believe is the most important aspect to homeschooling?
  • Why are you homeschooling?
  • What do you want to achieve in your homeschooling?

These questions will point you to your beliefs as opposed to When and How questions which are directed more at the practical side of homeschooling.  Pause now and consider your answers.

Here are my answers:

  • What do I believe is the most important aspect to homeschooling?  Growing each of my children in every area of their life
  • Why are we homeschooling?  To be an influence in our kids’ lives – to have a relationship with them, so we can influence them.
  • What do you want to achieve in your homeschooling?  Grown children who are mature and maturing in every area of their life.

Other questions, for example, could be:  What do you believe about education?  What do you believe about child development?  What do you believe about God, the Bible and Education?

 

Your Answers will shape your Homeschool Choices

Once you have answers to these types of questions you can then go and choose curriculum, set a routine, say yes or no to other activities and use a variety of teaching methods knowing you are consistent with your goals and objectives.  It is easy to just jump in and use a resource or teaching method without thinking about our philosophy (our beliefs).  We need to see these as two separate aspects in our decision making though they overlap with each other: the belief should direct the actions.

A miss-connection between belief and action is often a cause of burnout for either mum or the student.  As we cling to a method, or a curriculum, or an idea, even though we know it isn’t fitting well, we simply get tired.  It is much better to know what we believe – to take time if necessary to understand what we believe – and find tools to use in our homeschool to match.

One other caution – our beliefs may well change.  As we immerse ourselves in learning about homeschooling (through reading or experience) our vision and understanding can change or deepen.  If this happens you may have to change some of the things that were working for you initially.  We shouldn’t be put off by this – change is a natural happening when we start to learn.

So as you choose curriculum or resources (either at a mid-year review, or at the beginning of an education year) think carefully – will what you are looking at fit you?  Does it work with and towards your beliefs?  Does it encourage growth towards your goals?  If not, let it go.  There is so much out there you will find something to fit you, and your family, even if it isn’t categorised nicely under one name.

 

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